Everton midfielder Gareth Barry has revealed that he was close to signing for Arsenal before making the switch to Goodison Park last summer.
Arsenal were in the market for a defensive midfielder and were tracking Barry who had fallen out of favour at Manchester City. However, with Mathieu Flamini available, Arsene Wenger decided to sign the Frenchman who knew the environment at the Emirates, having left the club to search for greener pastures in 2008. Barry will make his first appearance in an Everton shirt against the Gunners when the Toffees visit the Emirates Stadium on Sunday in what promises to be a thrilling encounter.
The 32-year-old has proved to be a masterstroke for Everton, sweeping in front of the defence and making important tackles, protecting the defence and winning and maintaining possession. The England international played an important part in Everton's 1-0 win over Manchester United in midweek and will be looking to repeat his performance at the Emirates.
"There was contact with Arsenal over the summer. They were interested, but I think they went down the road with Flamini who was training with them, and I joined Everton instead," Barry said.
On playing for Everton, he added: "I'm really enjoying it and I'm as excited now as when I signed because I've got a feel for the club. I'm enjoying working under the manager and the coaching staff here, the training is fantastic and the style of play the manager wants us to play is really enjoyable. I'm really excited for the rest of the season."
Meanwhile Roberto Martinez believes that the cliché that defenders should defend and attackers should attack should be thrown out of the window. He put forward the example of Bryan Oviedo scoring in midweek at Old Trafford and insisted that everyone should play for the betterment of the team.
"The old cliche that defenders are there to defend and attackers are there to attack doesn't work any more. In the modern game, as a team you defend with 11 players and you attack with 11 players and it has been important that we work as a unit," he said.